After missing the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) playoffs last season with a 5-15 record, the UNB Varsity Reds women’s basketball team showed signs of promise this past weekend.
In the annual Helen Campbell Tournament held at the Richard J. Currie Center, the Varsity Reds came away with a 2-1 record. After losing their first game 68-56 to the Concordia Stingers on Friday, the team rebounded with a narrow 70-69 win over the Ryerson Rams on Saturday and a 65-56 win over the Cape Breton Capers on Sunday.
“I think we’ve only won one or no games in this tournament for three or four years so the fact that we won two was definitely a step in the right direction,” said head coach Jeff Speedy following Sunday’s contest. “I think we beat two pretty good teams and had a chance to beat a third one. We’re pretty pleased.”
In Friday’s opener, the Varsity Reds kept things close throughout but ultimately fell short, 68-56, to the Stingers. The Reds trailed by three after the first quarter and four after the second and third.
Concordia’s Kaylah Barrett stole the show, registering 30 points — 19 of which came in the second half — in her team’s win. She was named player of the game for the Stingers while Nicole LaFleur picked up top player honours for the Reds.
On Saturday, UNB got off to a good start and led 24-15 after the first quarter and 38-26 at the half.
The Rams began to chip away at the Reds’ lead in the third and UNB led by just 49-45 heading into the final quarter. With two minutes left in the match, Ryerson made a late push and took a 65-64 lead with 1:36 left. But a Grace Wade jump shot less than 10 seconds later put UNB back in front and they would stay there, hanging on for a 70-69 victory.
Wade, who came off the bench and recorded nine points, was named UNB’s player of the game. Mariah Nunes, with 19 points, was named Ryerson’s top player.
UNB picked up their second win of the weekend on Sunday. The Reds put up 19 points in both the second and third quarters in the 65-56 victory over Cape Breton.
Cape Breton’s Alison Keough put up a game high 27 points while Katelynn Mangold led UNB in scoring with 11 points.
Up next for the V-Reds women’s squad is the Don Grant Classic which takes place Oct. 24-26 in Moncton. They’ll face Nipissing along with AUS foes Acadia and UPEI.
Speedy said his team has some things to work on.
“We have to rebound the basketball better for sure. Our offensive rebounding is not even close to being good enough yet and our offensive execution needs a lot of work. We scored a lot by individuals doing some special things but we need to run a better offence so we have easier shots.”
UNB opens the AUS regular season at home on Friday, Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. against Acadia.